Nitto NT555RII Drag Radial Tire Review: 600hp Supercharged Saleen S197 'Stang
There's just something about the 2005-2010 S197 Ford Mustang platform that screams retro fun. Looking down the car's body lines, it’s easy to see how Ford preserved the Mustang’s historical design with retro details from the first-generation Mustang, but this one, Michael Hart’s 2006, is a special version of the pony car. He’s got a white convertible Saleen, number 909 of 1600 built in that year, to be exact.
Beyond the Saleen factory modifications, this car is even more unique with a plethora of numerous quality aftermarket goodies, plus a complete engine build. The stock Saleen supercharged 4.6L three-valve engine became a Boss 5.0 built with ported heads, cams, and a supercharger enhanced with an over-driven pulley system. It's backed by a solid, Tremec T-56 Magnum XL transmission and a full BMR suspension setup. This ‘Stang proudly puts down 600rwhp to the ground.
With all the performance upgrades under the hood, Michael had to upgrade his tires, too. He runs Nitto rubber both front and rear, choosing beefy 305/35/20 NT555RII tires for the Saleen wheels in the back. “I like that Nitto uses matching tread patterns on their D.O.T. compliant drag radial and their ultra-high performance summer tires,” Michael said.
While he admits he's not the type to go to the drag strip every weekend and click off pass after pass, Michael is not afraid of “spirited” driving. In his experience, he felt that stick-shifted cars and short sidewalls typically didn’t do well in the traction department and launching a manually shifted car could be difficult.
He found Nitto's the NT555RII’s new rubber compound made launching his car a little easier. “The car dead hooked going into second gear at the track. It puts 600whp to the ground, and these new drag radials are the first ones I’ve felt comfortable with on track outings. Plus, since I started using these tires, I’ve beaten my best sixty-foot and E.T times at the local drag strip,” Michael said.
The Saleen is at home on the drag strip, but there are beautiful sunny days where cruising with the top-down and finding a twisty road is the key to contentment. “When it comes to cornering, the car feels solid and I feel confident in the drag radials' ability to handle lateral movement,” Michael said. He hasn't noticed any "tail sliding,” and street testing has resulted in minimal spin in second and none at all in third, all due to the newly equipped NT555RII tires.
Michael does his best to keep the convertible out of the rain, but has been caught in the wet on these and other brand’s tires a few times. “Compared to other tires, the NT555RIIs feel more stable in a shower, and if I’m caught in a watery situation, I don't need to pull over,” Michael said.
Although the Saleen doesn't see a tremendous amount of yearly miles, he's happy with how they've worn so far. He also reported that road noise is minimal, even with some wear to the tread.
At the end of the day, looking back at his parked ’06 Saleen Mustang convertible, Michael loves the look of the tire, and remarked that the tread pattern’s large blocks and thick center ribs grab attention of other muscle car enthusiasts wherever they see it.
For his type of driving, he considers Nitto NT555RII drag radials a great value and recommends them to other muscle car owners seeking more traction both on and off the track.